Villanova, Pa. – Julius Wright grew up tough in South Philadelphia scarred by physical and emotional abuse, incarcerated for most of his adolescent years. His prospects were dim at best until one day he began to rap through the pain, keeping the beat with two pens and the palm of his hands. The discovery of a unique musical talent borne of a lyrical gift combined with the inspired use of found objects like plastic recycling bins and table tops to sound a beat began Wright’s road to redemption. The young urban beat artist’s compelling story is the focus of a documentary produced by a team of students in Villanova University’s Center for Social Justice Film.
Philadelphians will have the first look at “Who Is Wright” when the documentary is screened at 7 p.m., May 3 at the Ritz East Theatre, 125 South Second Street, Philadelphia. The screening is free and open to the public.
“My biggest fear is growing up and not letting the world see who I am,” Wright tells the audience in a Who Is Wright film trailer. There is little chance of that happening once the completed film is screened.
• Trailer 1
• Trailer 2
The chronicle of Wright’s compelling personal struggle was a product of Villanova University Communication Professor Hezekiah Lewis’ social justice documentary class which is part of the Center for Social Justice Film in Villanova’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. The Center engages students in producing professional quality documentary films that spotlight a contemporary social justice issue.
The project also involves a community service component. The class held a “Keep the Beat” benefit concert on the University’s main campus in March featuring the music of Julius Wright and other Philadelphia area musicians. Proceeds from the concert were donated to the Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music (G.E.G.I.S.O.M.), a non-profit performing arts institution that offers at risk youth from Philadelphia a safe and creative environment for training in music and the performing arts.
Who is Wright will also be screened April 30 at Villanova University, at 7 and 9 p.m. in the Connelly Center Cinema.
Villanova University is a co-educational Roman Catholic institution founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. The University offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs through four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Law. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information see www.villanova.edu.